Home FinanceEnergy & Environment Mukesh Ambani, India’s Richest Person, Loses $6.8 Billion After Reliance Shares Fall On Weak Quarterly Earnings

Mukesh Ambani, India’s Richest Person, Loses $6.8 Billion After Reliance Shares Fall On Weak Quarterly Earnings

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India’s richest person, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, shed $6.8 billion from his fortune on Monday as shares of his multinational conglomerate, Reliance Industries, plunged to their lowest price in over seven months after disappointing quarterly earnings. 

On Friday, Ambani ranked as the sixth richest billionaire in the world, with a net worth of $78.3 billion. After Reliance shares sank nearly 9%, he’s now the ninth richest person in the world, with his fortune falling to $71.5 billion.

Reliance Industries, the $88 billion (revenue) conglomerate that Ambani chairs and runs, saw its stock fall 8.7% in trading on the National Stock Exchange of India on Monday. Investors sold off shares of India’s most valuable company, which has interests in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom and retail, following its disappointing second quarter earnings results. 

While overall profits for the quarter through September 30 were down 21.6% from the prior quarter, Reliant also calculated earnings after an exceptional item—profits from selling shares in one of its telecom units; taking that into account, profits for the quarter were up 28%.

But Reliance said quarterly profits in its petrochemicals and refining unit fell sharply due to weak demand, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay at home. The company’s profit from refining a barrel of crude oil into fuels—or gross refining margin—fell to $5.70 per barrel in the latest quarter, compared to $9.40 a year earlier, according to a press release.

The drop in Reliance’s oil refining unit was offset by strong growth in its telecom business, Jio, which saw its profits rise nearly 20% since the priorlast quarter. Ambani has tried to transform his conglomerate in recent years from an oil and petrochemicals giant into a company more focused on technology and digital services. 

The 63-year-old billionaire has made efforts to reduce Reliance’s dependence on the energy sector, which has been hard hit amid the pandemic, by bolstering its telecom and e-commerce businesses.  Ambani raised more than $20 billion during the Covid-19 lockdown by selling a third of Jio to various international investors, including Facebook, Google, private equity firms KKR, Vista Equity Partners (run by billionaire Robert F. Smith) and Silver Lake as well as the venture investing arms of Intel and Qualcomm.

Despite Reliance shares’ recent plunge, the stock is still up around 25% so far this year. That has massively boosted Ambani’s fortune, which has nearly doubled since the Forbes Billionaires List in April, when he had a net worth of $36.8 billion.

Ambani isn’t the only billionaire to see his net worth fall recently. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, got $9.5 billion poorer  last Friday, as Amazon stock fell more than 5% even after it reported better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter on Thursday. Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, also saw his net worth fall after his company reported earnings, shedding $6.4 billion from his fortune on Friday.

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